Camp Volunteer Programs are an Integral Part of Success
The volunteer program
Camp volunteers are an integral part of the team for any youth camp. They supplement the paid staff by giving attention, support, and help to individual campers as needed, because there are simply more hands on deck. The volunteer program is especially helpful for people who are considering going into some aspect of the sports industry, whether as an instructor, a coach, running a camp, even running a sporting goods store.
The environment lets them experience first hand working with youth, and even though they may plan to work with adults in the future, the logistics and experience of helping and teaching is very similar. For those who are specializing their education in this field, this will give them a chance to apply what they have learned in a real life environment. The overall goal is not only for the campers to have the best experience possible, but also for the volunteers to be able to grow and learn from the instructors, coaches, and other professionals involved in running the programs and activities.
The application to volunteer
After a volunteer has submitted their application, it will be checked out completely. It must be understood that part of that process includes running a complete background check to see if there is any criminal history that would make them a danger to work with children or youth. It’s unfortunate that camp administrations have to know where to get a national criminal background check online when deciding who to admit as a volunteer. There is simply too much at stake to skip that process. Volunteers should be advised that they will be subjected to this look into their background. If someone has something to hide, they will usually withdraw their application at that point.
Who is a volunteer?
They come from all walks of life, and range in age from teenagers to adults in their 70’s and 80’s. Many adults choose to volunteer as a way of giving back to the community, or helping others as they were helped. Some parents volunteer so they can be on hand while their child is in the program. Some are seniors who love working with youth and helping to contribute to their development.
There are many reasons why people volunteer, and they come from all types of social, racial, and economic backgrounds. They include teachers, nurses, doctors, lawyers, business executives, students, CEO’s, and retirees. They may volunteer alone or come with a friend or family member. Whoever they are, they are more than just a set of helping hands, they are the lifeblood, heart and soul of the camp.
Summer camp is a rewarding, exciting, and experience for the volunteer staff. You will have the opportunity to not only help others but also to discover things about yourself and grow in ways you hadn’t thought of. Working in a fun environment, you can push your own limits and step outside of your comfort zone.
The feeling of satisfaction that comes from helping others and watching them blossom and grow is more satisfying than you can imagine, and is more than enough payment for the time you spend helping out. Many lifelong friendships are made with other volunteers and staff, as well as campers.
What do volunteers do?
The primary responsibility of a volunteer is to support and emphasize personal growth and development, and motivate the campers in building skills and relationships. After receiving a period of orientation, they will be prepared to assist with the different sports and recreational activities each camp has. In that capacity, they are responsible for the safe participation of campers in the activities. They should act as positive role models and be supportive of all the camp staff.
Even though it is a volunteer position, there are many job-like areas that volunteers will be assisting in. These include:
- Assist in activities with enthusiasm and positivity
- Model good sportsmanship behavior
- Help with checking campers in and out
- Be sure campers get to their assigned activities on time
- Help with snack breaks
- Assist anyone who needs extra help or instruction
- Assist with having equipment in place
- Assist with cleanup
- Other jobs as needed
See you at camp!